Police stormed the building with stun grenades at around 3.30am, rescuing 16 hostages who were unharmed. But the thieves had knocked the final hole into the escape tunnel a couple of hours earlier. The tunnel led from the basement of the bank into the sewers - and thus to the rest of Berlin, outside the police cordon - and to a nearby garage. The coup had, it seems, been months in the preparation.
The five men had seized the bank, in Zelhendorf, south-west Berlin, at around 10.30am on Tuesday, taking 16 customers and staff members hostage. They demanded a ransom of 17 m (pounds 8m) and a helicopter to get them away. It seems that they received a first instalment of DM5m, in five sacks, before escaping down the tunnel.Reuse content